Through My Eyes: What It’s Like To Be a Young Adult Living With Cancer
Through My Eyes is a series in which those affected by childhood cancer share a behind-the-scenes look into what it’s like to be in their shoes. Read every perspective. Become aware and donate to help create solutions for kids fighting rare pediatric cancer.
- Perspective: Young Adult
- Name: Corey Morgan, 20 years-old
- Cancer: Stage 4 Ewings Sarcoma, relapsed
- Diagnosed: November 2018, relapsed July 2019
- Treated At: Levine Children’s Hospital
- Interests: Fishing, Hunting, Carolina Panthers football
- Feels: Unlucky
UPDATE, NOVEMBER 26: We are beyond saddened that Corey Morgan passed away the evening of November 26, 2019. This young man held such a special place in our hearts and we are grateful he is no longer in pain.
Corey was featured on our social channels (Instagram & Facebook) on 9/11/19 to share what it’s like to be a young adult living with cancer. Learn how his life has changed, what keeps him strong and what cancer has taught him.
“It was a pain I had never felt before. I had pain in my bones, in my knees, ankles, back, elbows, even in my jaw. I had pain everywhere. It hurt so bad I could hardly move or even talk.”
Corey’s pain lead to the discovery of stage 4 Ewing’s sarcoma in November 2018 at 19 years old. He was diagnosed with a primary tumor on his adrenal gland, which was surgically removed and he started chemotherapy. In July 2019, the pain returned and a tumor was found on his back pressing on his spinal cord. When this tumor was surgically removed, Corey temporarily lost his ability to walk and use his bladder. More tumors were found on his left arm, sacrum (which is part of the back), ribs, and pelvis. Corey has undergone radiation and currently waiting for what the next step in his cancer treatment plan will be.
“It’s difficult when your body won’t do things it used to do. It’s even more difficult when you lose control over it. Losing the ability to walk was the hardest. I even lost control of my bladder.
Cancer changed my ability to do most of my favorite things. My absolute favorite thing is hunting. I like fishing. I also like to work on stuff with my friends, like fixing something that broke on a vehicle or working on four-wheeler or just about anything we can get our hands on. I like riding four- wheelers and I love diesel trucks (Ford in particular!).
Since being diagnosed with cancer I’m not able to hardly do any of that, especially not alone. My body just can’t do those things… I physically can’t or I’m no longer strong enough. Just the other day my dad and friends had to fix the steps on a deer stand to make it easier for me to get in and out easier. Every time I would go fishing on my boat someone would have to be with me in order to load the boat back. I can’t ride four wheelers due to the risk of wrecking or somehow getting hurt.
But the biggest thing cancer has changed is my ability to work. It sucks being stuck at home as a young adult, not able to make money and live the dream life I wanted to. I’m not able to buy a house and move out. I’m not able to take the next big step with my fiancé that we would love to do. There is nothing that I once was able to do that I do exactly the same.
Cancer changed my ability to be independent like other young adults.”
“She is the reason I get out of bed in the morning. She’s the reason I continue to keep a positive outlook on life. Blythe is the reason I still fight!
After I was diagnosed I never expected her to stick around since we were so young and still have so much life to live. But she did and that’s when I knew she was the one. She has given up just as much as I’ve had to just to be with me. She has given up most of her social life, where she wants to go to school, her family time, and the biggest thing… she has given up her freedom. We don’t get to run around wherever we want like most teenagers are able to. We can’t go out with friends like we once could because I’m not able to do a lot of things they can.
She’s been right by my side through it all. The good the bad, everything! It means the world to me to know that I always have her to be here for me! Blythe gives me hope, every time I get down or feel like giving up she’s right there to bring me back up!
Cancer hasn’t been all bad for us, as crazy as that may sound! I believe it has brought us closer and has helped show us a different kind of love that not everyone gets to experience. And the fact that we get to experience it at such a young age is amazing.
I was lucky enough to propose to Blythe on August 5th, 2019… it was probably the greatest moment of my life. To finally get to call her my fiancé meant everything to me and makes me the happiest person in the world. Blythe is my world!”
Everything in Corey’s life quickly became about what doctor to see next, labs, and transfusions. Daily decisions look different too. Before being diagnosed with cancer, decisions would include who to go fishing with over the weekend and where to watch the Panther’s football game.
As a young adult over 18 with cancer, Corey now has decisions to make like what is being discussed here… who he wants to grant as his power of attorney. Decisions no 19-year-old should have to make.
What Cancer Has Taught Me
I never would’ve imagined it would happen to me, but it did. I was a normal teenager living my life… the next thing I know I’m laying in a hospital fighting for my life and leaving there not remembering anything about those 2 long weeks. I felt unlucky. I was finally becoming a young adult, becoming a little more independent and not having to rely on my parents as much. I felt unlucky because everyone always asked “why me?”, and that’s exactly how I have felt for the longest time. I’m not able to do things that I at one time I took for granted.
I finally realized that we can’t control what cards we are dealt, so just enjoy what you have because someone always has it worse.
Being diagnosed with cancer has taught me to enjoy every part of life. Tomorrow is not promised, things can change in the blink of an eye. So never take anything for granted, soak up everything life has to offer, make the most out of everything you go through.
Love and enjoy time with your family, your friends, girlfriend, boyfriend, whoever it may be! My family has been great through this whole process… taking time off work, paying bills and doing everything they can to take care of me! Not only just my mom, dad, sister and fiancé. But my grandma, aunt and uncle, cousins, and friends. If it wasn’t for all of them helping out we wouldn’t be where we are right now!
Live in the present and not the future, and take things day by day! Life is much more enjoyable that way!”
Corey turned 20 on September 1st and cancer abruptly opened his eyes to the more serious aspects of life… maybe even before he was ready. But he accepts the reality and chooses to enjoy life. Enjoy the small moments, be present and cheer on those Carolina Panthers. His positive outlook is simply inspiring… we hope it will make you stop and think. It did for us. Take a few minutes to read his perspective. It’s real. It’s raw… just like childhood cancer. Are you aware now?
All photos/videos courtesy of Corey’s family.
*** THROUGH MY EYES: THIS IS CHILDHOOD CANCER SERIES